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      Poor birth weight recovery among low birth weight/preterm infants following hospital discharge in Kampala, Uganda

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          Healthy infants typically regain their birth weight by 21 days of age; however, failure to do so may be due to medical, nutritional or environmental factors. Globally, the incidence of low birth weight deliveries is high, but few studies have assessed the postnatal weight changes in this category of infants, especially in Africa. The aim was to determine what proportion of LBW infants had not regained their birth weight by 21 days of age after discharge from the Special Care Unit of Mulago hospital, Kampala.


          A cross sectional study was conducted assessing weight recovery of 235 LBW infants attending the Kangaroo Clinic in the Special Care Unit of Mulago Hospital between January and April 2010. Infants aged 21 days with a documented birth weight and whose mothers gave consent to participate were included in the study. Baseline information was collected on demographic characteristics, history on pregnancy, delivery and postnatal outcome through interviews. Pertinent infant information like gestation age, diagnosis and management was obtained from the medical records and summarized in the case report forms.


          Of the 235 LBW infants, 113 (48.1%) had not regained their birth weight by 21 days. Duration of hospitalization for more than 7 days (AOR: 4.2; 95% CI: 2.3 - 7.6; p value < 0.001) and initiation of the first feed after 48 hours (AOR: 1.9; 95% CI 1.1 - 3.4 p value 0.034) were independently associated with failure to regain birth weight. Maternal factors and the infant's physical examination findings were not significantly associated with failure to regain birth weight by 21 days of age.


          Failure to regain birth weight among LBW infants by 21 days of age is a common problem in Mulago Hospital occurring in almost half of the neonates attending the Kangaroo clinic. Currently, the burden of morbidity in this group of high-risk infants is undetected and unaddressed in many developing countries. Measures for consideration to improve care of these infants would include; discharge after regaining birth weight and use of total parenteral nutrition. However, due to the pressure of space, keeping the baby and mother is not feasible at the moment hence the need for a strong community system to boost care of the infant. Close networking with support groups within the child's environment could help alleviate this problem.

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          Most cited references 5

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          Evidence-based, cost-effective interventions: how many newborn babies can we save?

          In this second article of the neonatal survival series, we identify 16 interventions with proven efficacy (implementation under ideal conditions) for neonatal survival and combine them into packages for scaling up in health systems, according to three service delivery modes (outreach, family-community, and facility-based clinical care). All the packages of care are cost effective compared with single interventions. Universal (99%) coverage of these interventions could avert an estimated 41-72% of neonatal deaths worldwide. At 90% coverage, intrapartum and postnatal packages have similar effects on neonatal mortality--two-fold to three-fold greater than that of antenatal care. However, running costs are two-fold higher for intrapartum than for postnatal care. A combination of universal--ie, for all settings--outreach and family-community care at 90% coverage averts 18-37% of neonatal deaths. Most of this benefit is derived from family-community care, and greater effect is seen in settings with very high neonatal mortality. Reductions in neonatal mortality that exceed 50% can be achieved with an integrated, high-coverage programme of universal outreach and family-community care, consisting of 12% and 26%, respectively, of total running costs, plus universal facility-based clinical services, which make up 62% of the total cost. Early success in averting neonatal deaths is possible in settings with high mortality and weak health systems through outreach and family-community care, including health education to improve home-care practices, to create demand for skilled care, and to improve care seeking. Simultaneous expansion of clinical care for babies and mothers is essential to achieve the reduction in neonatal deaths needed to meet the Millennium Development Goal for child survival.
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            New Ballard Score, expanded to include extremely premature infants.

            The Ballard Maturational Score was refined and expanded to achieve greater accuracy and to include extremely premature neonates. To test validity, accuracy, interrater reliability, and optimal postnatal age at examination, the resulting New Ballard Score (NBS) was assessed for 578 newly born infants and the results were analyzed. Gestational ages ranged from 20 to 44 weeks and postnatal ages at examination ranged from birth to 96 hours. In 530 infants, gestational age by last menstrual period was confirmed by agreement within 2 weeks with gestational age by prenatal ultrasonography (C-GLMP). For these infants, correlation between gestational age by NBS and C-GLMP was 0.97. Mean differences between gestational age by NBS and C-GLMP were 0.32 +/- 1.58 weeks and 0.15 +/- 1.46 weeks among the extremely premature infants (less than 26 weeks) and among the total population, respectively. Correlations between the individual criteria and C-GLMP ranged from 0.72 to 0.82. Interrater reliability of NBS, as determined by correlation between raters who rated the same subgroup of infants, ws 0.95. For infants less than 26 weeks of gestational age, the greatest validity (97% within 2 weeks of C-GLMP) was seen when the examination was performed before 12 hours of postnatal age. For infants at least 26 weeks of gestational age, percentages of agreement with C-GLMP remained constant, averaging 92% for all postnatal age categories up to 96 hours. The NBS is a valid and accurate gestational assessment tool for extremely premature infants and remains valid for the entire newborn infant population.
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              Low birth weight and preterm neonates: can they be managed at home by mother and a trained village health worker?

              Observations on a cohort of neonates in the preintervention year of the field trial of home-based neonatal care (HBNC) in rural Gadchiroli, India, showed that preterm birth and low birth weight (LBW), <2500 g, constituted the most important risk factors. Owing to a limited access to hospital care, most neonates were managed at home in the subsequent intervention years. The objective of this paper is to evaluate the feasibility and effectiveness of managing LBW and preterm neonates in home setting. We retrospectively analyzed data from the intervention arm (39 villages) in the HBNC trial. Feasibility was assessed by coverage and by quality (19 indicators) of care. Effectiveness was evaluated by change in case fatality (CF) and in the incidence of comorbidities in LBW or preterm neonates by comparing the preintervention year (1995 to 1996) with the intervention years (1996 to 2003). During 1996 to 2003, total 5919 live births occurred in the intervention villages, out of whom 5510 (93%) received HBNC. These included 2015 LBW neonates and 533 preterm neonates, out of whom 97% received only home-based care. The coverage and quality of interventions assessed on 19 indicators was 80.5%. The CF in LBW neonates declined by 58% (from 11.3 to 4.7%, p<0.001), and in preterm neonates, by 69.5% (from 33.3 to 10.2%, p<0.0001). Incidence of the major comorbidities, viz., sepsis, asphyxia, hypothermia and feeding problems, declined significantly. Preterm-LBW neonates without sepsis (270) received only supportive care -- CF in them decreased from 28.2 to 11.5% (p<0.01), and those with sepsis (53) received supportive care and antibiotics -- CF in them decreased from 61 to 13.2% (p<0.005). Supportive care contributed 75% and treatment with antibiotics 25% in the total averted deaths in preterm-LBW neonates. The intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR)-LBW neonates without sepsis (1409) received only supportive care -- the CF was unchanged, and 181 with sepsis received supportive care and antibiotics -- the CF decreased from 18.4 to 8.8% (p<0.05). Treatment with antibiotics explained entire reduction in mortality in IUGR neonates. In total, 55 deaths in LBW neonates were averted by supportive care and 35 by the treatment with antibiotics. Home-based management of LBW and the preterm neonates is feasible and effective. It remarkably improved survival by preventing comorbidities, by supportive care, and by treating infections.

                Author and article information

                BMC Pregnancy Childbirth
                BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth
                BioMed Central
                9 January 2012
                : 12
                : 1
                [1 ]Department of Pediatrics, Mulago National Referral Hospital, Kampala, Uganda
                [2 ]Division of Neonatology, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, USA
                [3 ]Department of Pediatrics, Makerere University, College of Health Sciences (MakCHS), Kampala, Uganda
                Copyright ©2012 Namiiro et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

                This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

                Research Article

                Obstetrics & Gynecology


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